Why did Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and Mark Twain love time travel?

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Are you among the believers in time travel? Or you may be a person who dreams of time travel?  Time travel’s infinite possibilities enthralled the minds of writers and readers for generations. Just the thought of the ability to change the past or the future is an alluring magnet for people who feel they have control of the world around us.



What about time travel?

Cultural time another concept of time.

What is time?  One way of looking at cultural attitudes to time is in terms of time orientation, a cultural or national preference toward past, present, or future thinking. The time orientation of a culture affects how it values time, and the extent to which it believes it can control time. Countries have their own view of time. America is often considered to be future-orientated, as compared to the more present-orientated France and past-orientated Britain.

What is the truth about time?

Theories, Paradoxes & Possibilities explores the meaning of time. While most people think of time as a constant, physicist Albert Einstein showed that time is an illusion; it is relative — it can vary for different observers depending on your speed through space. To Einstein, time is the “fourth dimension.” Space is described as a three-dimensional arena, which provides a traveler with coordinates — such as length, width and height —showing location. Time provides another coordinate — direction — although conventionally, it only moves forward. (Conversely, a new theory asserts that time is “real.”)

Writers and Time Travel


Time travel with its infinite possibilities has captured the minds of writers and readers for generations. The ability to change the past or the future is intoxicatingly alluring to us humans who like to feel as though we can control the world around us.

Washington Irving related the story of Rip Van Winkle, a man who goes to sleep for a night to find 20 years have passed in 1819; Scrooge was given glimpses into the past and the “yet to come” in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol in 1843; and Mark Twain sent a Connecticut Yankee to the court of King Arthur in his 1889 novel.

Let’s check out how these authors took their characters on time travel journeys.

Ebenezer Scrooge is the protagonist of Charles Dickens’s 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. In the beginning, Scrooge is a cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas. His last name means miserly. Dickens takes his mean, hateful character on a time travel journey of his redemption with the three Ghosts of Christmas (Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come) has become a defining tale of the Christmas holiday in the English-speaking world. Towards the end of the journey, Scrooge is transformed by the ghosts into a better person who changed his ways to become more friendly and less miserly.


Rip Van Winkle” is Washington Irving’s 1819 tale of a commonsensical Yankee thrust back in time to Britain in the Dark Ages. It’s a celebration of ingenuity and democratic values contrasted to the Dark Ages’ superstitious incompetency of a feudal monarchy. Rip Van Wrinkle is s Dutch American villager living in colonial America. When Van Winkle falls asleep in the Catskill Mountains he wakes up 20 years later. When he wakes up, he discovers that he missed the American Revolution. In Van Winkle’s dream, he sees George Washington’s portrait on the inn’s sign replaced the one of King George. He also learns that most of his friends were killed fighting in the American Revolution He also realizes that he has been away from the village for at least 20 years. His grown daughter takes him in, and he resumes his usual idleness. His strange tale is solemnly taken to heart by the Dutch settlers.


Hank Morgan is the main character in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, a satirical novel by Mark Twain, published in 1889. Morgan is a mechanic at a gun factory, is knocked unconscious and awakens in England in the year 528. He is captured and taken to Camelot, where he is put on exhibit before the knights of King Arthur’s Round Table. He is condemned to death but remembers having read of an eclipse on the day of his execution, he amazes the court by predicting the eclipse. Later he concocts some crude gunpowder and uses it to blow up Merlin’s tower. It is decided that he is a sorcerer like Merlin, and he is made minister to the ineffectual king. In an effort to bring democratic principles and mechanical knowledge to the kingdom, he strings telephone wire, starts a school and teaches journalism.

More Time Travel novels to read.

The Time Traveler’s Almanacn by Ann VanderMeer (Author), Jeff VanderMeer (Author)

The Time Traveler’s Almanac is the largest and most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled. Gathered into one volume by intrepid chrononauts and world-renowned anthologists Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, this book compiles more than a century’s worth of literary travels into the past and the future that will serve to reacquaint readers with beloved classics of the time travel genre and introduce them to thrilling contemporary innovations.

This marvelous volume includes nearly seventy journeys through time from authors such as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, and Connie Willis, as well as helpful non-fiction articles original to this volume (such as Charles Yu’s “Top Ten Tips For Time Travelers”).

In fact, this book is like a time machine of its very own, covering millions of years of Earth’s history from the age of the dinosaurs through to strange and fascinating futures, spanning the ages from the beginning of time to its very end. The Time Traveler’s Almanac is the ultimate anthology for the time traveler in your life.









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Judy Kundert

Judy Kundert, a recipient of the Marquis Who’s Who Excellence in Authorship award, loves storytelling, from folk and fairy tales to classics for elementary school children. She authors award-winning middle-grade novels designed to inspire and intrigue children. After she left her career as a United Airlines stewardess, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Loyola University, Chicago and a Master of Arts from DePaul University, Chicago. Most recently, she completed a master’s Certificate in Public Relations and Marketing from the University of Denver. For fun, she likes reading (usually three or four books at a time), watching movies from the oldies to the current films, traveling, biking, and hiking in vast Colorado outdoors with her husband. Learn more at www.judykundert.com.You can find me at the foot of the Colorado Rocky Mountains hiking, biking


  1. Pat on December 12, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Fun topic.

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